The Englishman thinks that making it a Rolex Series event might boost the field

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Matt Wallace: British Masters Field “A Massive Shame”

The British Masters returns this week and the tournament comes in a different guise to previous years.

The event was re-launched in 2015 after a seven year hiatus, with Sky Sports sponsoring for four years up until 2018.

There were doubts about whether the event would return but it is back on the calendar with Betfred acting as sponsor for two years.

Some big name Brits are teeing it up this week at Hillside, including host Tommy Fleetwood, defending champion Eddie Pepperell, former World Number One Lee Westwood, 2018 Ryder Cupper Tyrrell Hatton and four-time European Tour winner Matt Wallace.

Wallace was speaking in his pre-event press conference where he voiced concerns about the strength of the field.

There are some big names playing but it can’t be ignored that just two of Europe’s 2018 Ryder Cup team are at Hillside and bigger name Brits like Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Ian Poulter and Paul Casey have all opted to skip the event.

“It is a shame, a massive shame,” Wallace said of this week’s strength of field at his press conference.

“I see the British Masters probably just behind the BMW PGA Championship in the rankings for myself, so this event is huge.”

The tournament has also moved this year as part of the wholesale schedule changes to the golfing calendar.

It has traditionally been held towards the end of the year but has come forward to May and into the spot directly before the USPGA Championship, which will have undoubtedly affected the strength of field.

“They have done a great job in getting the players here that they can. I would say it’s come at a time that’s unfortunate in the schedule with the PGA Championship next week, but I would never miss this event.

“I think if we can try to carry on the British Masters, it’s such a big event, then maybe make it a Rolex Series event or something and get people back.”

Players can be forgiven for not playing this week at Hillside with the USPGA Championship next week.

The purse for the British Masters is €3.48m (or $3.9m) which is far less than the $7.9m on offer at the AT&T Byron Nelson on the PGA Tour this week.

It’s also far less than the $7m on offer at the eight Rolex Series tournaments.

However, for some of the bigger name European Tour guys, the chance to win the British Masters is surely a massive opportunity, especially when you look at the past winners – Tony Jacklin, Bernard Gallacher, Bernhard Langer, Lee Trevino, Greg Norman, Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Ian Woosnam, Sandy Lyle, Colin Montgomerie etc…

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